Elections BC changed the HST result announcement from Thursday to Friday, the take out the trash day when it comes to announcements from the BC Liberal government. The result will come "after the close of counting" which probably means when the politicians have cleared out for the weekend and the weekday deadlines are past.
Additionally, Premier Christy Clark announced her government has a detailed Plan B ready to put into action if BC citizens vote to dump the harmonized sales tax.
Obviously, the insiders know the voting trend that was revealed shortly after counting began. Citizens are too fragile for this information but it is no secret at Elections BC and that agency is no longer independent, it is an arm of government. For Christy Clark to talk of Plan B 48 hours before the final count is released, you can draw only one conclusion: the HST referendum has recalled the giant subsidy to big business.
I expect that Plan B will result, not in the reinstitution of PST as it was before Campbell and Hansen made the change, a provincial consumption tax that will have exemptions and application extensions making it decidedly like the provincial portion of the HST. In other words, we'll end up with a PST that applies much more broadly than it did before except that exemptions on big ticket items purchased by businesses will be extended so that the extra money collected from ordinary consumers will still end up in the pockets of the corporations.
I admitted earlier to listening to Bill Good on CKNW Wednesday morning. He was advising public servants to be happy with the generous settlements they've received in recent years and get over their hopes for improved wages and funding for schools and teachers. After all, Good advised, if the HST is voted out, there will be a huge shortfall in revenue. Gosh Bill, don't you remember that the HST was "revenue neutral." Mr. Campbell and Mr. Hansen said so, on your show.
Bill Good should be a little sceptical about the "cupboard is bare" story - he could talk to friend David Hahn - since a young woman who worked as one of his producers tripled her annual remuneration when she signed on to Christy Clark's staff.
At the Ferries admiralty, the million dollar Flag Officer proposes that major cuts to service are necessary. This is serious business because if sailings and operating expenses are not reduced, executive bonuses might suffer and these executive superstars of business will be recruited to work at other ferry systems, such as the one in Washington State, where the CEO is paid below $150,000 a year.
I dropped into the Cohen Commission salmon hearings at the Federal Court rooms today. Dr. Kristi Miller is a very impressive witness. The room was full with lawyers, facilitators, officials, flacks and favoured hangers-on filling about 3/4 of the large room leaving space for about 75 public spectators, those bothersome environmentalists and aboriginal reps.
I drew one strong conclusion from my short observation. If the feds funded scicentific work as well as they fund lawyers, we'd employ four times the people for the same money and probably get ten times the results. You can be sure that Dr. Kristi Miller earns far less than any of the lawyers present and knows far more about the fisheries.
It did seem clear that DFO scientists are highly constrained by budget restrictions in the field. Time and time again, answers to questions indicated that much less work has been achieved than is necessary to finally understand the factors degrading ocean resources. There will be no simple answer, no smoking gun that explains the troubles.
The lawyer for the salmon farmers seemed to take pride in saying that fish samples will be provided to Miller so that Atlantic salmon can be tested for parvovirus. I understand this decision to cooperate was recent after a long period of foot dragging. This by Damien Gillis at the Common Sense Canadian is worth reading for more information.
I write and edit this blog alone. I don't belong to any political party but I favour public education, efficient social programs, democratic trade unionism, free competitive markets and encouragement of owner-operated businesses. I believe all public and quasi-public servants should be subject to stringent measures of accountability and conflict prevention.
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